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Old 09-15-2020, 04:15 PM   #1
jigsaw44
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Default Thoughts, Questions, And Wanted Discussion On Local Churches

Intro- I am currently part of the local churches (east coast), and upon joining for a little while now (not too new and not a long term member) I seem to have a lot of questions I wouldn't feel comfortable asking upfront just by the nature of it. (the word "but" is used an unnecessary amount of times but im done typing/adjusting and just want to post.

1. What exactly is the hierarchy of the local churches? On these forums I see these terms of Coworker, blended brothers, elders, (whats next after elders and so on) etc. What exactly are these titles and their function, and how would you know if someone is in one of these positions? It seems pretty subtle when it comes to knowing who is who and what is what. I feel like I have no idea how this system is organized and it feels like it is something that is not explained for a long while for some reason or another.

2. My second question goes to the dream/mission of the church and is to basically have a society that has no denominations and have full unity. To cut a long story short this seems real nice at first glance but obviously has no real practical pursuit as humanity will always think differently and be divided whether that is religion, politics, ideology, conduct of livelihood etc. But if the local churches want to pursue this to the best they can, even with the evident reality then its fine- go pursue life with how ever you believe. The real problem is how the local churches practice of worship completely revolves more around witness lee than the sole word of Christ. I want you to imagine if the Local churches were to grow bigger than what even the catholic church has accomplished and have a collective of Christians having their thoughts consumed solely by the teachings of lee? I do not think that would look to pretty, especially reading all of the under the rug stories of the local church. Honestly the biggest problem in my opinion, with the practice of the local churches is how much they indoctrinate themselves with lee ( I Do not even know his first name or why he is called "witness" lee).

3. What are the certain behaviors that make the Local Church members different. I notice some things like they have dont televisions, and I think they do not celebrate Christmas and Easter. There probably more things they do and not that I have not noticed yet. What is the essential code of conduct among the local churches and where does these behaviors come from (maybe witness lee?).

4. This last point is kind of ridiculous in my opinion and it has to do with the relations of men and women in the local churches. It is very easy to tell brothers and sisters are separated as much as possible unless married. It really got to me when I brought my girlfriend (still having a celibate boundary), over to a lords day meeting and the amount of just piercing glares was just like woah- what is going on. Then I am later told about how dating is not moral and is only meant with intent on marriage and they read me verses on this subject,and It was obvious my girlfriend was a problem to them. But to be frank I am an adult in my twenties and I dont understand a darn bit how the woman I am with is anybody concern and how do they think they are in a position to dictate me, on how and who to date. But the situation with me is minuscule compared to some other brothers.

4.5- This is a continuation of point number 4 but focusing on other brothers. To get straight to it- the separation of male and female seems justifiable at a youth age but gets kind of out of hand for adults. I understand you want children to not be reckless and to focus on Christ and establishing their life before pursuing woman but it gets out of hand at a certain age with the restrictions of separation.
I know brothers in their late twenties and even early to mid thirties who for sadly obvious reasons they are not in good standing with pursuing a relationship. They barely have any opportunities to talk to the sisters and they frankly dont know how to since they have never done it for their entire lives (the ones who grew up LC). Lastly, there are probably no sisters interested in them in, in that locality.
But instead of going out there in the world and being a man and finding their own woman, they just sit there while they fellowship with the brothers and praying for their troubles (repeatedly). But the fact is- the reasons they cant find a woman to settle with (socially, physically, financially, etc), still applies to the local church woman just as much to woman outside the local churches. Everyone looks for standards in a relationship and if you have a lot of perceived flaws/judgement then it takes that much more work to find a woman who accepts you and embraces. So sitting your butt down while in your thirties and hoping for some sort of miracle is not productive.
I wish I could tell them to get their butts out there and find their woman. I believe there is somebody for everyone but some people just never find that person cause they dont do what is required to do so. But I dont want to be seen as blunt and harsh. The thing is that if these brothers I talked about were 18 or 19 years of age just starting to explore the world and seeing the work required to live in it than it wouldn't be a problem and time will develop them. But some these are men in their mid thirties sitting their hopelessly and sad, not realizing they might need to expand their world outside the local churches to get what they want.
Having a woman/spouse is one of the most essential things for a man to have and to make it so hard for grown men to even have a basic interaction with woman (talking, standard dating),to me makes no sense. Especially when some men are by default of certain qualities, going to have a harder time dating/finding a woman. Im not even going to get into the arranged marriage/elders permission nonsense (as seen in other post), as my post is long enough.

- This concludes my introduction post, feel free to give your knowledge, thoughts, opinions, and concerns on my post. It was nice introducing myself and I hope to gain more insight. also sorry for the typos/errors, this was a long post.
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Old 09-16-2020, 12:11 PM   #2
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Jigsaw44 - welcome to the LC Discussion board! I'll try to respond to each of your points, but may not have the knowledge to do so adequately on all of them. My responses are based upon my firsthand knowledge of the LC from the 1070s & 80s in a few different localities, and for some limited things I've learned since then.

1. Regarding the hierarchy, the elders are supposed to be the top authority in a locality. And the LCs were supposed to be autonomous. But this happens to varying degrees and since the mid-1980s, central authority from Anaheim and LSM has become prevalent. The elders and LCs that didn't come under this authority were basically shown the door. I think "co-workers" means ones who were closely associated with WL. Blendeds I have the least idea about, as this made-up term came about after I left in the late 1980s. However, Blendeds wield at least a strong influence over elders I would think . . .

2. You identified a key issue with the LC - its adherence to WL above Christ. They would never admit this, but it is apparent to most anyone who visits a LC gathering. They believe they have the one true ministry and the one true way to Christian unity. This has caused a palatable and fleshly elitism in the LC, that automatically divides them from other members of the body of Christ. They don't see this and believe, like the church in Laodecia, that they have it all.

3. Regarding the behaviors of the LC members . . . no, many do not have TVs and don't celebrate holidays. When I was in, this was a norm, and to do otherwise, well let's just say there was a sort of unwritten peer pressure regarding these things. Nothing wrong with not having these things, and personally I believe the world is completely married to the TV and Christmas. But, it is a covert kind of legalism in the LCs to not practice these things, which supplants the inner working of the Anointing.

Other behaviors when I was around including a very conservative style of clothing and things like discouraging make-up on women. Again, there was a kind of covert code, which I don't know that anybody got talked to if they stepped "over the line, " but there was just this understanding that you didn't want to appear too worldly . . . Now I see these things as legalism that just replaces the real experience of Christ in someone's life.

4.5 - I don't know that I can really address this. There has been a lot of discussion on here of late, regarding how the LC treats females (not well). As you point out, there certainly is some prudence in keeping a level of separation for obvious reasons (i.e., rampant hormones), but the LCs seem to get overly legal in this matter too. Maybe someone else could address this more.

Hope that helps and again, it's just my opinions and observations. I'm sure many others will chime in.
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Old 09-16-2020, 01:19 PM   #3
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Thank you for the response- Sons to Glory, I have been in the LC for a little while and things just seemed out of place on the surface of things and I was thinking just how strange it truly was once you get to know enough of it.
I encourage other users to chime in and tell me what they know of the local churches whether that is responding to one of my initial questions in the original post or just giving some extra info.
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Old 09-16-2020, 09:15 PM   #4
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Intro- I am currently part of the local churches (east coast), and upon joining for a little while now (not too new and not a long term member) I seem to have a lot of questions I wouldn't feel comfortable asking upfront just by the nature of it. (the word "but" is used an unnecessary amount of times but im done typing/adjusting and just want to post.

1. What exactly is the hierarchy of the local churches? On these forums I see these terms of Coworker, blended brothers, elders, (whats next after elders and so on) etc. What exactly are these titles and their function, and how would you know if someone is in one of these positions? It seems pretty subtle when it comes to knowing who is who and what is what. I feel like I have no idea how this system is organized and it feels like it is something that is not explained for a long while for some reason or another.
Welcome jigsaw44!

I only have a short window to say something but will try to follow up with some more thoughts on the rest of your post in the coming days. But regarding your point #1......

The brothers in the leadership of the local churches adamantly claim that "there is no hierarchy" in the local churches. But, as you may or may not have discovered, there can be a fair amount of contradictory thoughts/teachings in the local church. I say that because while stamping their foot and proclaiming "no hierarchy", the leadership simultaneously holds iron-grip fast to the concept of "deputy authority" in the church.

What is "God's deputy authority" you might ask? In the church, what it distills down to is that it's brothers in the lead who must be submitted to whether they are right or wrong. Who are the ones telling us that God's deputy authorities must be submitted to whether right or wrong? Why, those very same deputy authorities.

I'll provide a sample quote from an article posted to a recent public relations site they created within the past year:

"The apostles charged the believers to submit to all deputy authorities, without regard to whether they were good or bad (Rom. 13:1; Titus 3:1; 1 Pet. 2:13). Believers are likewise charged to honor the elders in the church (1 Tim. 5:17) and be subject to them (1 Pet. 5:5).

What if a deputy authority is wrong? If a deputy authority is wrong, we should still submit (Dan. 3:19-21; Acts 16:20-25), though we cannot obey if the authority insists that we act contrary to God (Dan. 3:16-18; Acts 5:29)."

One tripping hazard with these kind of quotes is that they are chock-filled with verse references, giving the impression that everything they are saying, stating, and claiming is what the Bible says.

But it's just not. What the co-workers have done in the article (I'll get to "the co-workers" in a sec) is mix verses about submitting to SECULAR authorities "whether good or bad", and then pretending like the Bible commands that same "whether good or bad" stance regarding apostles, elders, etc.....in the church. But the Bible NEVER says to submit to someone in the church "whether they are good or bad". Ever. The system of "authority" (if you want to call it that) in the church is completely turned upside down from the world. And Jesus Himself says it in Matthew 20:25-28:

25 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them.
26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant,
27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—
28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

So just with your first question, you've uncovered a known abusive teaching used in cults and abusive churches. It's a big one, and it tells us reams about what's going on in the local church. And what it's telling us is not good.

It basically provides the perfect petri dish of an environment for sin, unrighteousness, and all manner of evil to be covered up and hidden and never dealt with, because the members have been trained to believe they have to submit no matter what. The second you hear anyone saying "we have the authority" is actually the very moment that they have lost their authority, because they have strayed from the thing that really has the authority - the word of God.

There's more I could say, but that's an initial toe-dip into the cesspool of hierarchy and authority in the local church.

The frustrating thing is, if everyone behaves themselves, a given local church can seem like quite a nice place. Most members have direct access, free fellowship, good relationships with the elders in that locality, and you don't bump up against this strange "deputy authority" that much. It's when 1) someone sins and the eldership is expected to step in and they confusingly develop lead feet and you're expected to not have a problem with their unwillingness to do the right thing, or 2) the co-workers (who are "above" the elders) blow into town and the elders suddenly become simpering backbone-less non-elders who bow to whatever unbiblical stuff the co-workers may be commanding them to do, that you bump up against it. And this stuff happens. Oh boy, does it ever.

So in this "we are not a hierarchy", here is a rough idea of the hierarchy as I posted elsewhere on this site:

1. Witness Lee (in the grave)
2. Co-workers in the Lord's recovery - cover the whole world
>>a. Senior co-workers
>>b. Junior co-workers
3. North America co-workers - includes some regional co-workers, deals only with N.A.
4. Regional co-workers - cover various regions in the U.S., some of whom are North America co-workers, some of whom are not but are elders.
5. Elders in each locality.
6. Responsible brothers in each locality (includes both elders as well as the brothers under them, say, who head up various services in the church, or various district meetings, or handle the HWMR sharing, etc).
7. All the other brothers.
8. All sisters, no matter the age, maturity, responsibility, weightiness, expertise, etc.

8 is a little tongue in cheek, but not really far off from reality as I have observed it, and as you may have noticed.

#nohierarchy

As you rightly observed, they are shifty about identifying who is who. Elders in each locality are openly known, but above that is mired in clouds of smoke. I think it's commonly understood that "the blended brothers" includes AT LEAST the brothers who share the messages at the LSM live trainings given every summer and winter. "The blended brothers" are either all the co-workers, or a subset of the co-workers.

One other wrinkle while I'll only touch upon, is that the majority of the board members of LSM, if not all of them, are also co-workers. And so any decision made by "the co-workers" is by default also a decision made by all the top brass at LSM. What this does is put LSM as #1 in place of Witness Lee, for all practicality these days. A publishing house is the top leader of a network of churches. It's just weird.

I recollect the same as Sons to Glory!. I believe "the co-workers" came about as a term initially to describe the brothers who were around Witness Lee when he was alive. They were "co-working" with Witness Lee, and so they became "the co-workers". Even their terminology has to do with relationship to Witness Lee. If you look through the Bible, though, the Greek for co-worker is used in a much broader sense and in a few cases includes couples and sisters.

But the reason for shiftiness (and I'll stop on this point), is so they can't be held accountable. In the Bible, the apostles were named, openly identified themselves as such, and openly known. And the saints in the church were charged to watch out for wolves and false prophets, and were told to test them and were commended for identifying false apostles, etc. Well......it's kind of hard to test and discern and hold people to a standard if they won't even identify who they are.....right?

On that same PR site I mentioned earlier, the co-workers claim to be apostles, and then call it "unbiblical" to ask for a list of the co-workers. It actually couldn't be more biblical, given that the apostles are listed out one by one in the Bible itself.

It's all just a contradictory, unscriptural mess that they've propagated. I personally think 95% of the problems in the local church stem from the upper echelons of the leadership.

Anyway. You got me going. Sorry for the long post. Hope this is helpful as a start.

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Old 09-17-2020, 07:42 AM   #5
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But the reason for shiftiness (and I'll stop on this point), is so they can't be held accountable.
I'll pick up where you stopped.

The Recovery reeks because of this point: Its leaders have not, cannot, and will not be held accountable.

This is the impetus for many of their false teachings, and the widespread damages which have resulted over the years. Of course, those inside of the Recovery are constantly reminded that these "storms" were actually "rebellions" or "conspiracies" orchestrated by ambitious men. Nothing could be further from the truth. All of these so-called "ambitious" men, throughout the 100 year history of the Recovery, were only men of God calling for accountability in the ministry. In a sense they were merely whistle-blowers calling for accountability.

The most insidious (and probably the root of all evil) of these false teachings is the concept of "deputy authority" vested in one man. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Both within the church and without. That's why Jesus so often warned the disciples about wanting to be great, and lording it over others. If you think that I am perhaps a little off-base, let me encourage you to read church history and see the death and destruction wrought by the Popery on the entire Western world for more than a Millennium.

Think about it: If the Pope is the actual Vicar of Christ on earth, how can he make a mistake, and how can he ever be held accountable? If Nee and Lee and "Brothers We" are actually the "Ministers of the Age," (MOTA's) raised up by the Lord Himself, how can they be held accountable?

How did it get this way? Why has history repeated itself? What are these same falsehoods thrust upon Catholics, thrust upon the LC's, thrust upon our Brethren forebears under J.N.Darby, and thrust upon so many other congregations and aberrant sects throughout the church age?

This teaching of deputy authority, under diverse terminologies for two millennia, is a root of evil. It is the legal mandate of those who lust for power. It has the ability to subdue mountains of verses in the New Testament which should serve to negate it. In a nutshell, it is the application of Moses (and Noah secondarily related to accountability) as a type of any N.T. minister. Yes, Moses is a type of Christ, and Christ alone, but never another minister. Moses told us this in Deut. 18.15-19. Jesus regularly connected Himself with Moses. (e.g. John 5.46-47) Peter verified this in Acts 3.22-23. Paul confirmed this in Hebrews chapter 3. Moses brought us the Old Covenant and built God's house in type, Jesus brought us the New Covenant and built God's house in reality.

Kings David and Solomon are also incredible types of Christ. God has used them, though flawed in many ways, to reveal His Son to us. Yet, never once did the N.T. ascribe their kingly authority to anyone but Christ Himself, the real King, the eternal King, the Judge of all, who alone is worthy of all glory and honor. Apart from Him, all other ministers in the church, including the apostles, are nothing. (Luke 17.10)
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Old 09-17-2020, 03:32 PM   #6
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Appreciate all the responses so far (Ohio/trapped/glory). Gave me alot of info I did not have before. Feel free to expand your input on my other questions and for anyone new to this thread- join right in.
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Old 09-19-2020, 12:43 PM   #7
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3. What are the certain behaviors that make the Local Church members different. I notice some things like they have dont televisions, and I think they do not celebrate Christmas and Easter. There probably more things they do and not that I have not noticed yet. What is the essential code of conduct among the local churches and where does these behaviors come from (maybe witness lee?).
Where behaviors come from is an interesting question, and not one I'm sure I have any kind of answer or many formed thoughts about. Numerous behaviors in the local church line right up with typical behaviors in legalistic churches or abusive churches, so with that in mind, I would say the ultimate source is of the devil. But I think, yeah, maybe some of the particular specifics are just sourced in Witness Lee.

As an example, it's not uncommon for facial hair to be frowned upon in legalistic churches. That's the overarching "typical behavior". But the particular specific for the LC is, say, that Witness Lee said that when he came to America and saw Americans with beards he didn't know if the men were humans or demons. That's the Witness Lee twist on the beard thing. And they take it so far as to say that if you are serving on campus or in the leadership, it's inappropriate for you to have a beard or facial hair. Like, it is not allowed. Talk about a commandment of men rather than of God!

The essential code of conduct is: DON'T DO ANYTHING WITHOUT PERMISSION AND FELLOWSHIP!!!

Other things that make the LC members different:
-no Christmas
-no Easter
-for some, no birthdays, or greatly reduced emphasis on birthdays
-movie theaters have been problematic
-I know jeans are a problem for some
-they have a unique and strange vernacular among themselves which bleeds into conversations with non-LC people sometimes
-ultra submissive to so-called "authority"
-close their minds to contradictory information
-live in their own bubble trying to get others into their bubble
-withdrawal from healthy interaction with other believers not in the LC, there can actually be a fear there even
-for some, fear of extravagance or appearing too worldly (yes, we should take care of that kind of thing in the extreme, but I think it's too much in the LC.....for example, Jo Casteel in her FB letter mentioned something about wearing sparkly shirts and worrying it would stumble LCers)
-fear of questioning, noticing problems, speaking up about observed sin, identifying wrong teachings, rocking the boat in general
-holding conflicting views simultaneously and constructing mental barriers to not have to deal with it

I know others can fill this out much better, but that's what immediately came to my mind.

(Thanks, Ohio, for picking up where I left off on that other post!)

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Old 09-19-2020, 05:47 PM   #8
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Thanks again for all the responses, a quick question though. Is it ok if i PM some of you for more questions? I just dont think it will be necessary to make a bunch of thread every time I have a concerning questions. But I def will make some new threads in the future, (hopefully one that isnt a 1000 word Original Post like this one =).
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Old 09-19-2020, 09:26 PM   #9
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4. This last point is kind of ridiculous in my opinion and it has to do with the relations of men and women in the local churches. It is very easy to tell brothers and sisters are separated as much as possible unless married. It really got to me when I brought my girlfriend (still having a celibate boundary), over to a lords day meeting and the amount of just piercing glares was just like woah- what is going on. Then I am later told about how dating is not moral and is only meant with intent on marriage and they read me verses on this subject,and It was obvious my girlfriend was a problem to them. But to be frank I am an adult in my twenties and I dont understand a darn bit how the woman I am with is anybody concern and how do they think they are in a position to dictate me, on how and who to date. But the situation with me is minuscule compared to some other brothers.

4.5- This is a continuation of point number 4 but focusing on other brothers. To get straight to it- the separation of male and female seems justifiable at a youth age but gets kind of out of hand for adults. I understand you want children to not be reckless and to focus on Christ and establishing their life before pursuing woman but it gets out of hand at a certain age with the restrictions of separation.
I know brothers in their late twenties and even early to mid thirties who for sadly obvious reasons they are not in good standing with pursuing a relationship. They barely have any opportunities to talk to the sisters and they frankly dont know how to since they have never done it for their entire lives (the ones who grew up LC). Lastly, there are probably no sisters interested in them in, in that locality.
But instead of going out there in the world and being a man and finding their own woman, they just sit there while they fellowship with the brothers and praying for their troubles (repeatedly). But the fact is- the reasons they cant find a woman to settle with (socially, physically, financially, etc), still applies to the local church woman just as much to woman outside the local churches. Everyone looks for standards in a relationship and if you have a lot of perceived flaws/judgement then it takes that much more work to find a woman who accepts you and embraces. So sitting your butt down while in your thirties and hoping for some sort of miracle is not productive.
I wish I could tell them to get their butts out there and find their woman. I believe there is somebody for everyone but some people just never find that person cause they dont do what is required to do so. But I dont want to be seen as blunt and harsh. The thing is that if these brothers I talked about were 18 or 19 years of age just starting to explore the world and seeing the work required to live in it than it wouldn't be a problem and time will develop them. But some these are men in their mid thirties sitting their hopelessly and sad, not realizing they might need to expand their world outside the local churches to get what they want.
Having a woman/spouse is one of the most essential things for a man to have and to make it so hard for grown men to even have a basic interaction with woman (talking, standard dating),to me makes no sense. Especially when some men are by default of certain qualities, going to have a harder time dating/finding a woman. Im not even going to get into the arranged marriage/elders permission nonsense (as seen in other post), as my post is long enough.

- This concludes my introduction post, feel free to give your knowledge, thoughts, opinions, and concerns on my post. It was nice introducing myself and I hope to gain more insight. also sorry for the typos/errors, this was a long post.
I was raised in the local churches since the age of 3. By the time you leave grade school for middle school, it is no longer acceptable for boys and girls to be sociable.
As you get to be high school and college age it was common to hear the phrase from a brother's perspective, "you don't get into a relationship until you're ready to get married." How do you know when that time is? If you even dare to speak to a single sister, protocol has been broken. Your character within the church becomes questionable.
It wasn't until the 1990's it became more common to find one's spouse outside the local church fellowship. It wasn't until facebook did I realize other former church kids, single sisters had the same attitude towards single brothers that single brothers had towards single sisters. There's a facade in the churchlife pretending to be spiritual and on fire for the ministry even if you're not. Brothers want to marry a normal sister and sisters want to marry a normal brother. Someone you can grow and laugh with. As it was there was such a distance for brothers and sisters to know each other as persons, they became socially dysfunctional towards the other gender.
You said,
Quote:
I know brothers in their late twenties and even early to mid thirties who for sadly obvious reasons they are not in good standing with pursuing a relationship. They barely have any opportunities to talk to the sisters and they frankly dont know how to since they have never done it for their entire lives (the ones who grew up LC). Lastly, there are probably no sisters interested in them in, in that locality.
I was one of those brothers. How I came to be married and a father of three had nothing to do with the local churches.
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Old 09-19-2020, 09:30 PM   #10
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Another question I had for many years, is to get an honest answer without the hemhawing "I feel to honor the feeling of the Body" type of response.
Brothers and sisters, do you really feel the quarantined leading brothers were trying to "takeover the recovery"?
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Old 09-19-2020, 09:32 PM   #11
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The essential code of conduct is: DON'T DO ANYTHING WITHOUT PERMISSION AND FELLOWSHIP!!!
On the flip side, it one is conscious of this code of conduct and does something without permission and fellowship, what does it mean if there is reaction?
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Old 09-19-2020, 09:40 PM   #12
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It's all just a contradictory, unscriptural mess that they've propagated. I personally think 95% of the problems in the local church stem from the upper echelons of the leadership.
I agree with you here Trapped. Sadly fear of Man operates more in the local churches than fear of God. The general congregation take more heed what "the brothers" say rather than what the Bible says.
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Old 09-19-2020, 09:47 PM   #13
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I was raised in the local churches since the age of 3. By the time you leave grade school for middle school, it is no longer acceptable for boys and girls to be sociable.
As you get to be high school and college age it was common to hear the phrase from a brother's perspective, "you don't get into a relationship until you're ready to get married." How do you know when that time is? If you even dare to speak to a single sister, protocol has been broken. Your character within the church becomes questionable.
It wasn't until the 1990's it became more common to find one's spouse outside the local church fellowship. It wasn't until facebook did I realize other former church kids, single sisters had the same attitude towards single brothers that single brothers had towards single sisters. There's a facade in the churchlife pretending to be spiritual and on fire for the ministry even if you're not. Brothers want to marry a normal sister and sisters want to marry a normal brother. Someone you can grow and laugh with. As it was there was such a distance for brothers and sisters to know each other as persons, they became socially dysfunctional towards the other gender.
You said,
I was one of those brothers. How I came to be married and a father of three had nothing to do with the local churches.
This describes my experience too. No way granted to be able to be normally healthily functional towards the opposite sex. I recall having a young people's serving one telling me sternly "DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT AT ALL UNTIL YOU ARE 25!" and when I turned 26 I got "what's the deal, why aren't you married yet?"

I tried to tell elders that young people are harmed by being told "no no no no no no no no" in every meeting their whole life and it is never balanced out with any kind of meeting where they are told "okay....now's ok". The elders were not church kids themselves, and they didn't seem to understand the problem.

You don't get into a relationship until you're read to get married?? How are you supposed to have any idea of who you'd like to be in a relationship with if you can't interact with them in a normal way? In the LC it's like you've got to break their protocol to have a hope of getting married. I can't stand what they've done to people.
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Old 09-19-2020, 09:51 PM   #14
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Thanks again for all the responses, a quick question though. Is it ok if i PM some of you for more questions? I just dont think it will be necessary to make a bunch of thread every time I have a concerning questions. But I def will make some new threads in the future, (hopefully one that isnt a 1000 word Original Post like this one =).
You can PM anyone you want, although your original post was in the "Introductions and Testimonies" subform and since the title of your post is "thoughts, questions, etc....." this is kinda your thread and I think it would be totally appropriate for you to simply post more questions you have in this same original thread you started since it all would fall under "jigsaw44's thoughts and questions"!

It's up to you whether to PM or post publicly of course, but there are people reading and there is a lot of value to questions and thoughts and answers and musings happening publicly where others can read them. It's something that can't happen in the LC - freely throwing around Qs & As and handling things in the light - and that's the value of this place in contrast.
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Old Yesterday, 07:20 AM   #15
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Default Re: Thoughts, Questions, And Wanted Discussion On Local Churches

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Thanks again for all the responses, a quick question though. Is it ok if i PM some of you for more questions? I just dont think it will be necessary to make a bunch of thread every time I have a concerning questions. But I def will make some new threads in the future, (hopefully one that isnt a 1000 word Original Post like this one =).
Yes, absolutely - at least as far as I am concerned!
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Old Yesterday, 06:06 PM   #16
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Thanks for all the support all of you, well as requested I will definitely ask more questions that I would like insight on. (sorry for the typos/errors, it is a long post).

5. Why do elders/full timers try to find out every aspect of your livelihood. From my own experience and observed happening to other brothers recently recruited from college campuses, it seems as though they try to ask why you do certain things such as activities outside of the local churches. Either that may be hanging out with friends outside the LC, or going to social events/hobbies. They seem almost skeptical/cynical of your lifestyle outside of the local churches. They are subtle about it to, they try to fish around for the information they desire but trying to beat around the bush in asking what you do and why you do it. It appears kind of invasive, like do how would they like it if someone questioned every aspect of the livelihood outside of the Local Churches. IDK if this is an east coast thing with the local churches (where in from), or just a general thing they do for whatever reason.

6. Another observation I made is how they seem very persistent in getting certain brothers (college age), to go live in a brothers house. I don't this to be necessarily negative but they have a strong emphasis on accomplishing this. I guess the concerning thing is that, why are they so persistent in pulling people away from their already established living situation (dorms/apartments/living with parents). Its as if they are afraid of something and that "something" can be solved by putting brothers in a brothers house. Like I said, cant really have a hard opinion on this without knowing more info. I know that a brothers house has a lot of restrictions that may or may not be too controlling depending on the person. But I feel that this has a strong correlation to something, I just don't know it (hopefully you all do).

6.5- A side about brothers house, what I do observe is that it is definitely not suited for everybody and I see brothers who have stagnant growth in life and responsibilities as a man, due to the restrictions of the brothers house and the cheap comfort that it brings (low cost of living), also were talking about men not only college age but all the way into their thirties). Do local church elders even care about the growth and progression of life of brothers or the only thing relevant is their "spiritual growth" and fellowship. I honestly think that the actions/pressures of the local churches have either unintended or in their eyes "trivial" consequences for lots of people they to usher into their customs.

7. Full time training- I read some post about how the Local Churches try to push students to go to the full time training but some things about it does not make sense to me. There are brothers/sisters who go to the full time training but are not full timers. So they basically enter the job market with a 2 year job gap. Did they chose not to pursue full timing or where there not enough positions available? Why would someone go through years of college+ internships and to throw all away for a 2 year job gap and no full time position in the church. Wouldn't just be more practical for lots of brothers/sisters to just pursue their careers and move on with their lives. It seems to me this "training" just hindered their lives greatly (those who did not become full timers).

8. Tithing/- This is something that has a problem with all religious institutions but for the local churches- I want to chime in. I remember I was at a conference (east coast), and the way the full timer/ responsible one (idk his position but he was something in terms of authority). Was giving a story about how a brother worked his way up to making good money and he gave it all away except for the needed amount to survive. He then said with a powerful and grasping voice- GIVE YOUR MONEY TO GOD, Money is evil except for putting it towards God (Like God himself needs money -_-). (Notice how he says give money to God, good word choice to captivate people and it sounds a lot better than saying please give money to the church for necessary expenses). The people attending the conference shouted Amen and were robust about his words and were praising him. I was thinking to my self- you took so much of this mans money and didn't even think about his personal well being such as retirement savings and other cost of living adjustments.
So how much action does the Local Churches have into individual contribution for tithing. Do they force/pressure you for income verification and try to compromise with you on how to much to donate. Or are they lax and simply humbly request donations for church maintenance. I understand money is necessary for needed funds/expenses, but honestly there are certain ways to not go about it that can be deem unethical: selling LSM products in church, and being deceptive with words.

8.5- Mentality- as told in question 8 with the story of the conference attendants mindlessly shouting amen and just praising anything a brother with authority says. I have been to different churches growing up and there are numerous times a pastor will give his own personal opinion knowing the consequences of difference in thought within believers- in which you get negative stares, awkward silence, and a lack amens. This is a part of church life and it shows the different chain of thoughts and personal beliefs we humans have.
But brothers, especially elders and responsible ones (basically any brother with any sort of authority). Will speak and say something bizarre strange, or just extremely unusual, it is almost if the local church members are just ingrained just yell amen and agree with utmost authority towards the brother. I emphasize "brothers", because sometimes when sisters offer a different/unpopular opinion- there is hardly any amen and even objection to the comment the sister made. But for leading brothers- the situation reminds me of people with no sense of independence of thought just mindlessly agreeing and never objecting.
Is this a fašade, and people do think differently and disagree but due to fear- never speak out in any form. Or are they really ingrained to the system crafted by the local churches. Or perhaps, not to be condescending- these are the people the local churches are looking for ("sheep" needing to be taken care of). All these things I have just observed from my current time with the local churches, and I know possibly many more newcomers to the LC (perhaps even LC grown people), have noticed similar things as I- just not have spoken about it to local church members. There is a huge commitment rate ranging between those who grew up in Local churches and those who came in as young adults (me). Obviously those who grew up outside the local churches- bring with them there experiences and knowledge of understanding outside of the local churches and bring them in. That is why a lot of long term Local Church members (especially Young LC kids/teens/adults), I believe are not even aware of this "mentality" that they have in relations towards the local church or maybe have been taught for so long to dismiss it.
Regardless, this concludes my second set of questions for the local churches. Its crazy how much I have from just basic observations from an outside perspective (didn't grow up in LC). Feel free to answer and give me input from any of my questions/points.
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